Expectations... Do we all have expectations about children? We want them to behave in a certain way, sleep through the night, eat cleanly, say "hello" and "thank you" and... and
In the Asian countries I have lived in and travelled with my baby I have encountered very few expectations.
Our baby cried in a restaurant? No problem! A waitress came, smiled at her and played peek-a-boo.
Our baby wanted to be carried around during our dinner? A waiter came, asked the permission to hold our baby and stood beside our table with her in his arms while we finished our dinner.
Our baby ate independently — read: very messy— in a chic restaurant? Nobody would care about the carrots on the floor and looked surprised when we tried to clean the best we could before leaving.
Probably one of the things I mostly enjoyed when living in Asia with my baby was that people interacted with her with benevolence, respect and lack of judgment in any situation. A baby does not seem to bother anyone. Never. Ever.
This is what I have noticed in China, Korea and Thailand: when parents enter a room (and even a plane!) with a child, people immediately turn around, say hello and smile... to the child.
One of the things that struck me most is that people came and asked her questions: "What's your name?", "How old are you?", "Where are you from?", "Do you enjoy the flight?", Where do you go?"
Obviously at 3 months she was not able to answer the questions by herself but people would address her and not us. She was addressed as a person not as a baby (or a pet). They talked to her and not about her. So I always hesitated to answer the questions instead of her, felt a bit disrespectful... sounds weird?
Anyway. So many books and paeditricians claim in France that baby should be respected and treated as persons. Well, hope that will be the case when I will enter a chic restaurant in Paris with her.
In the meanwhile, the questions I get (nobody asks her questions because she can't talk, can she???) since I am in France are: "Does she sleep through the night?", "Is she well-behaved?"